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Helicopter with five people on board goes missing over Irish Sea

A helicopter travelling from Milton Keynes to Dublin with five businessmen on board has gone missing over the Irish Sea.

A spokesman for the UK Coastguard said it was coordinating a search operation in the Caernarfon Bay area of North Wales.

The privately owned twin squirrel red helicopter is believed to have left Milton Keynes on Wednesday en route to Dublin, via Caernarfon Bay.

The spokesman said radar contact with the helicopter was lost on Wednesday afternoon and the Coastguard was notified to start a search operation at 4.15pm.

UK Coastguard duty commander Peter Davies said: 'We have established a search plan between Caernarfon Bay and the shore of Dublin and currently have two Coastguard helicopters searching the route.

"We are in the process of contacting all the vessels in the Irish Sea that were in the vicinity around midday and we are continuing Mayday broadcast action for any vessels currently in the area to contact us if they have any further information.

"At the moment we are appealing to these vessels and to the public that if they have seen a twin squirrel red helicopter to please contact 999 and ask for the Coastguard.'

BBC Radio Wales reporter Carl Yapp told RTE that rescue helicopters are using thermal imaging equipment as part of the search.

"There were five people on board this red squirrel twin engine helicopter that has gone missing," Mr Yapp said.

"It was making its way from Milton Keyes in the south of England over Wales and north Wales and Caernarfon Bay and then the Coast Guard lost contact with it at 4:15pm this afternoon.

"Searches are underway and we have got two helicopters – one from South Wales and one from North Wales, they are using thermal imaging equipment and are searching for the helicopter and those on board."

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